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Refusing the Breathalyzer Test

by | Jan 31, 2023 | Firm News

The breathalyzer test is a device that measures the amount of alcohol in the air you breathe out.  These tests are oftentimes administered by police officers when someone is suspected of OUI or DUI.  Typically, the results of these tests can go up as soon as 15 minutes after consuming an alcoholic beverage, and they can reach their highest after about an hour after drinking alcohol.

When suspected of OUI or DUI, you may be asked if you consent to a breathalyzer test.  Currently, in the state of Massachusetts, if you refuse to agree to take a breathalyzer test, the following events immediately occur:

  • The arresting officer will take custody of your driver’s license or learner’s permit
  • Provide you with written notification of your license suspension
  • Possibly impound the vehicle you are operating
  • Notify the RMV (Registry of Motor Vehicles) that your license/permit is suspended

A license suspension is not a criminal offense, but rather an administrative proceeding that is extremely inconvenient for the license holder.  The amount of time a license is suspended for refusing to take the breathalyzer varies by the number of prior OUI or DUI violations that an individual has incurred.  For example, if you have never been arrested for OUI or DUI, your license could be immediately suspended for 180 days.  Alternatively, if you have had one prior OUI or DUI violation, your license could automatically be suspended for 3 years.

Being arrested for OUI or DUI is a complicated, lengthy process.  Additionally, there are steps that can be taken to obtain your driver’s license sooner after suspension.  For these reasons, it is important to hire an experienced Massachusetts OUI attorney immediately so you are able to navigate the process effectively and get the best possible results.